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Capital One has been absolutely crushing it these days. It started 2018 off strong by adding a high-powered 10x bonus category to the Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card for Hotels.com purchases, and capping the year off with the announcement that miles earned on the Spark and Venture card families will soon be transferable to 12 different airline partners.
Today we’ll take a look at some of the best Capital One credit cards, including those that don’t always get the attention they deserve. Note that all of the cards on this list have watered-down no-annual fee versions (such as the Capital One VentureOne Rewards Credit Card) that have fewer perks and lower earning rates, but Capital One’s top cards offer significant value and have modest annual fees, so we’ll focus on the big leagues here.
1. Capital One Venture Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee: $95 (waived the first year)
Sign-up bonus: Earn 50,000 miles after spending $3,000 in the first 3 months.
Standout benefits: While the Venture Rewards Card first earned its place by offering a consistent 2x miles on all purchases and a simple fixed value “travel eraser” redemption structure, the addition of airline transfer partners really puts it in a league of its own. Beginning in December, miles will transfer at a 2:1.5 ratio to the following 12 airlines, effectively giving the card an earning rate of 1.5x partner airline miles per dollar spent:
Aeromexico Club Premier
Air Canada Aeroplan
Air France-KLM Flying Blue
Cathay Pacific Asia Miles
EVA Infinity MileageLands
Hainan Fortune Wings Club
Qantas Frequent Flyer
Qatar Airways Privilege Club
While you can still use your miles to erase travel purchases from your statement at a fixed rate of 1 cent each, these transfer partners led TPG to value Capital One miles at 1.4 cents each, giving the Venture card an astounding earning rate of 2.8% on all purchases.
All the other features that made this card so great are sticking around, including the 10x bonus category at Hotels.com, when booked and paid via Hotels.com/venture, (which you can stack with Hotels.com own loyalty program to earn another 10% back), the waived first-year annual fee and the Global Entry / TSA PreCheck application fee credit. Flexibility is one of the most valuable elements of a good points strategy, and the Venture Rewards card delivers loads of it by allowing you to decide on a case-by-case basis whether to use it as a fixed-value or transferable points card.
2. Capital One Spark Miles for Business
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn 50,000 miles after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus another 150,000 miles when you spend $50,000 total in the first 6 months
Standout benefits: The Spark Miles for Business gives you access to the same great transfer partners as the Venture family of cards, and if you can max out both tiers of the current welcome bonus you’ll walk away with a whopping 300,000 miles (200,000 from the two tiered bonus, plus 100,000 for spending $50,000). Obviously not every business can or should spend $50,000 this quickly, but if this is something you can manage, you’ll be rewarded handsomely for it.
Given the 2:1.5 transfer ratio, these 300,000 Capital One miles will transfer to 225,000 partner airline miles. You could stack this with an Avianca award sale and get three one-way first-class tickets to Asia, or transfer to Aeromexico to book a round-the-world ticket with up to 15 stops.
Businesses will also enjoy the free employee cards, lack of foreign transaction fees and Visa SavingsEdge benefits. You can check out our full review of the Spark Miles card here.
3. Capital One Spark Cash for Business
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Sign-up bonus: For a limited time, earn $500 after you spend $5,000 in the first 3 months, plus another $1,500 when you spend $50,000 total in the first 6 months
Stand-out benefits: Even if your business prefers cash back over travel rewards, you can still get great value out of your credit card usage. The Spark Cash for Business is identical to the Spark Miles card in all ways but one: It earns cash back (at a fixed 2% rate) instead of transferable miles. While the personal Venture Rewards card lets you switch between points transfers and travel statement credits, with a business card you’ll have to make a decision about which type of rewards you want to earn.
Still, the two-tiered sign-up bonus worth $2,000 ($3,000 when you factor in the $50,000 of spending you’ll do to earn it) is one of the highest we’ve ever seen, and a fixed 2% earning rate on everyday spending is very competitive for a cash-back business card.
4. Capital One Savor Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee: $95 (waived first year)
Sign-up bonus: $500 after you spend $3,000 in the first 3 months
Stand-out benefits: The Capital One Savor Card is a pure cash-back card that aims to compete on its earning rates, not on perks and benefits. Savor card holders will earn unlimited cash back at the following rates:
- 4% back on dining
- 4% back on entertainment
- 2% back at grocery stores
- 1% on everything else
There are certainly cards with more valuable bonus categories, such as the American Express® Gold Card‘s 4x on US dining and supermarkets (up to $25,000 a year for supermarkets; then 1x), worth 8% based on TPG’s valuations) but if you’re looking for a no-frills, no nonsense card, the Savor is a great choice to consider. The $500 sign-up bonus is fairly attractive, and you can try out the card for a full year without paying an annual fee. Just make sure you’re getting more than $95 worth of cash back from it, otherwise you might want to consider the no-annual fee Capital One SavorOne Cash Rewards Credit Card instead.
5. Capital One Quicksilver Cash Rewards Credit Card
Annual fee: $0
Sign-up bonus: $150 after you spend $500 in the first 3 months
Stand-out benefits: The Capital One Quicksilver Card is about as simplified as you can get, so for people who aren’t willing to spend the time learning award charts and maxing out transfer bonuses it can make a decent option. You’ll earn a fixed and unlimited 1.5% cash back on all purchases, which is not the best rate on the market but passable, especially for a no-annual-fee card. While the sign-up bonus isn’t massive, the spending requirement is low. That said, if you’re in the market for a no-annual-fee cash back card like this you’d be better off picking the Citi Double Cash Card instead.
While premium credit cards are all the rage these days, Capital One has taken a different approach. None of these cards offer lengthy, exhausting lists of perks that you may or may not remember to use, but none of them cost more than $100, and they’re all free for the first year.
Capital One has focused on providing a good value proposition in terms of earning and redeeming, instead of complicating things with flashy and expensive perks. Whether you’re an individual or a business, looking for miles or cash back, Capital One has a card that can help you achieve your travel goals.